#8 - Show vs. Tell in Songwriting + Poems

For songwriting, poetry, and really for all creative writers, it's a good habit to ask yourself if you could "show" rather than "tell."  

Here are some examples:

Basic: It was hot outside. 
Descriptive: My shoe soles melted into the blacktop.

Basic: The grocery store was busy. 
Descriptive: The line at Raley's stretched 12 carts long.

Basic: She is drunk.
Descriptive:  She stumbles into me with whiskey breath.

You get the idea.  It might take more words, but often they can be shortened, or it's worth devoting another line to create a rich description with visual or other sensory features.  
These examples, and the exercises below, work in sentences.  As you and I know, songs and poems don't always work in sentences.  But for the purpose of getting good, raw material to work with, they do great. 

I invite you to make your own descriptive sentences out of the basic ones I've proposed, below.  You can download the PDF "Show Me Worksheet" at this link, if you like. (It's the same as the image, below.)

Please leave some of your answers in the comment section at the bottom of this page!

2 comments

  • Katja Edgar
    Katja Edgar
    Work was hard. / Twelve hours later, Reuben laid down his ax. A garden grew out back. / Roses bloomed again behind where the house had once stood. They care about each other. / They hold hands until the end. I love the coast. / My allergies lift at the coast; the depression does, too.

    Work was hard. / Twelve hours later, Reuben laid down his ax.
    A garden grew out back. / Roses bloomed again behind where the house had once stood.
    They care about each other. / They hold hands until the end.
    I love the coast. / My allergies lift at the coast; the depression does, too.

  • Rita Hosking
    Rita Hosking
    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing your versions, Katja!

    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing your versions, Katja!

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